TCB’s Research Backs Up Va Tech Information


Virginia Tech just released information about a “low rated” helmet on the field in the NFL, the Riddell VSR4;

Riddell’s VSR-4 helmet received just one star in a study of football helmets led by Virginia Tech professor of biomedical engineering Stefan Duma and released Tuesday. Another Riddell model — the Revolution Speed — was the only helmet that earned five stars, the top rating.

Five models — two made by Riddell, two by Schutt and one by Xenith — received four stars.

According to Riddell’s stats 40% of the players wore this helmet in 2010.  In our exclusive research we found on a random sample that 32.41% of players were wearing the helmet.  And that 71% of all helmets on the field were Riddell’s (75% reported by NFL and 77% reported by Riddell).

Our stats found that of all the counted concussions last year (with a helmet ID) 64% of all concussions were in Riddell helmets, 34% in Schutt and 2% in Xenith.  We further broke down the concussion based on actual models of the helmets and found a staggering number, one that this most recent information from Virgina Tech backs up, or we back up their information, either way.

In 2010 51% of all concussions in a Riddell helmet occurred in a VSR4, which is significantly higher than the expected rate, if in fact this injury is random, meaning concussions should mimic the incidence of the helmet on the field.  If you look at either number — the 40% reported by Riddell or our findings of 32% — the concussion percentage in the VSR4 last season is far above that.  Further statistics show that the original Riddell Revolution was on 40% of those wearing Riddell’s but only accounted for 19% of concussions in a Riddell; this would show that this helmet is outperforming the 4-star rating that VTech gave it.  The Revo Speed, highest rated was on 27% of players wearing Riddell’s and only accounted for 29% of the concussions, right in line with a “random” event.

Virginia Tech is working on creating a helmet data base to rate helmets in regards to concussions.  All of this information has been leading me to continually say; MANDATE REMOVAL of models that are out of date from the playing field.  The problem, not in the NFL, is the cost; as most high school teams are loaded with these older models.  Schutt currently has a program desinged just to do that, see link above.

In regards to this information/statistics we have compiled, it was based on observational data, using helmet ID techniques as primitive as screen grabs and photos from games where players were concussed.

Thanks for our stats go to; Will Carroll and Deadspin as well as various emailers who helped!

edited 5/16/11 to read counted concussions that helmets were ID’ed with.

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5 thoughts on “TCB’s Research Backs Up Va Tech Information

  1. Daniel May 10, 2011 / 09:52

    Would be nice to see the same kind of study for hockey helmets.

    • Dustin Fink May 10, 2011 / 10:08

      Talk about a guarded product. I have had zero luck trying to do the same research on hockey helmets. NHL=Cold War in regards to information about concussions.

  2. Daniel May 11, 2011 / 10:07

    But couldn’t the same kind of methodology be used with commercially available hockey helmets even without support from the NHL?

    • Dustin Fink May 12, 2011 / 16:13

      Yes, I don’t know a lot about hockey helmets, and if they are readily identifiable through pictures… Seems likely…

      • Daniel May 16, 2011 / 13:19

        Yes, I think most hockey helmets could be identified from pictures.

        Now, finding the time to do that research is another thing!

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